Remains of the dig

Today, the Tebtunis excavations took place one century ago. In the course of this century, less than five percent of the documents have been properly edited and studied; the remainder of the texts, and the artefacts found during the same dig, have been studied marginally, or not at all. Nor have the papyri and artefacts been put back in context. There is much work to be done.

Before the papyri and artefacts can be properly studied however, care should also taken of their conservation. The Tebtunis Papyri arrived in Berkeley in a number of tin boxes as shown here; these boxes had been manufactured in Egypt by local metalworkers. When the number of these boxes was not sufficient, Grenfell and Hunt also used old cigarette tins to hold papyri. The papyri had been inserted between pages of the Oxford University Gazette.

In the course of time, a number of fragments (more than 20,000) has been transferred to other locations (plastic, glass, acid-free folders), but there are still a few tinen boxes with papyri in them, as shown here. In two of these boxes, there are even unopened rolls of papyrus. These fragments have never been studied, so that there contents is as yet unknown.